Dharculus (CR 9)
Medium Aberration (Extraplanar)
Alignment: Usually neutral
Initiative: +6 (+2 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative); Senses: Listen +14 and Spot +14
Languages: Does not speak
AC: 22 (+2 Dex, +10 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 20
Hit Dice: 8d8+40 (76 hp)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +11
Speed: 30 ft.
Space: 5 ft./5 ft.
Base Attack +6; Grapple +7
Attack: Tentacle +8 melee
Full Attack: 6 tentacles +8 melee
Damage: Tentacle 1d4+1
Special Attacks/Actions: Improved grab, ethereal bite
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 17
Special Qualities: Dualplanar, SR 20
Feats: Improved Initiative; Iron Will; Weapon Finesse
Skills: Listen +14 and Spot +14
Advancement: 9-11 HD (Large); 12-24 HD (Huge)
Climate/Terrain: Ethereal Plane
A dharculus's dual-plane existence provides it exceptional protection against its prey, while it is free to attack most potential victims with impunity, first by establishing a hold with a small mawed tentacle, then by bringing its otherwise intangible ethereal bite into play.
Dualplanar (Ex): The bulk of a dharculus's body resides on the Ethereal Plane, but the monster possesses the capacity to insert or remove its mawed tentacle ends into or out of the Material Plane as a standard action. Creatures that are stuck on the Material Plane find it difficult but not impossible to target the dharculus. Because the monster is dual-planar and therefore exists partially on the Material Plane while its tentacles are inserted, its foes on the Material Plane can attack the creature as if it had cover, and so it gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class and a +2 bonus on Reflex saves. A dharculus can take a standard action to remove its tentacles from the Material Plane, allowing it to effectively retreat completely into the Ethereal Plane.
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a dharculus must hit a Small or larger creature with its tentacle attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and attaches the tentacle to the opponent.
After a successful grab, a dharculus can try to attach its remaining tentacles with a single grapple check. The opponent can escape with a successful grapple check or Escape Artist check, but the dharculus gets a +2 circumstance bonus for every tentacle that was attached at the beginning of the opponent's turn.
Ethereal Bite (Ex): A dharculus that begins a turn with all six tentacles attached and that makes a successful grapple check automatically makes an ethereal bite (biting with its enormous, body-sized maw, which is normally relegated to the Ethereal Plane), dealing 6d6+1 points of damage. The maw and main body of the creature remain only a threatening thickness in the air even when the bite is delivered, so the sudden jerking and wounding of a victim become all the more unsettling to the victim's compatriots.
A subtype applied to any creature when it is on a plane other than its native plane. A creature that travels the planes can gain or lose this subtype as it goes from plane to plane. This book assumes that encounters with creatures take place on the Material Plane, and every creature whose native plane is not the Material Plane has the extraplanar subtype (but would not have when on its home plane). An extraplanar creatures usually has a home plane mentioned in its description. These home planes are taken from the Great Wheel cosmology of the D&D game (see Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide). If your campaign uses a different cosmology, you will need to assign different home planes to extraplanar creatures.
Creatures not labeled as extraplanar are natives of the Material Plane, and they gain the extraplanar subtype if they leave the Material Plane. No creature has the extraplanar subtype when it is on a transitive plane; the transitive planes in the D&D cosmology are the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, and the Plane of Shadow.